NASHVILLE, TN: Country music agency Webster Public Relations has not shut down despite issuing a statement hours prior that it was "no longer in business."
The agency has rebranded to Westby Public Relations, named after SVP Jeremy Westby, per a statement from a DVL Seigenthaler staffer.
The statement explained that, earlier today, it was "mistakenly" posted on the Webster Public Relations website that the firm has been closed.
"Webster Public Relations will continue operating – but under the name Westby Public Relations – while Kirt Webster [its founder] takes some time away from the business to focus on combating the egregious and untrue allegations made against him," the statement said. "The company’s work on behalf of its clients will continue under the leadership of Jeremy Westby, [Webster’s] long-standing colleague."
DVL Seigenthaler provided litigation comms support to law firm Neal & Harwell, which is representing Webster, but the law firm has since taken over comms after another allegation was made, said agency president Beth Courtney.
"It’s apparent that it’s more complex," Courtney said. "We were kind of brought in last-minute. It now makes more sense for the law firm to handle this."
Westby didn’t respond to numerous requests for comment.
Only hours ago, visitors to WebsterPR.com were met with a message that said, "As of November 1, 2017, Webster Public Relations is no longer in business."
The website is up and running again.
News of Webster’s shifting status follows claims that its founder sexually assaulted a former client and threatened his career if the allegations ever came to light.
Former country singer Austin Rick said the powerful publicist assaulted him over the course of a year.
Webster PR pushed back against the allegations, saying the relationship between the publicist and Rick was consensual and that the singer was using the case as leverage to benefit himself.
This story was updated on November 2 with clarification from DVL Seigenthaler on its relationship with Neal & Harwell.